Sunday, October 19, 2008

[kgma] RP highlights World Food Day with massive launching of organic farming

From: "kgma_news"
Date: October 20, 2008 1:23:13 AM EDT
To: kgma@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [kgma] RP highlights World Food Day with massive launching of organic farming
Reply-To: kgma@yahoogroups.com

RP highlights World Food Day with massive launching of organic farming
TAGBILARAN CITY (PNA) -- In line with this year's celebration of World
Food Day, the Department of Agriculture (DA) launched a nationwide
promotion of organic farming as a way to improve agricultural
productivity and ensure food sufficiency.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap kicked off the World Food Day
celebration by introducing to farmers in Lila, Bohol the benefits of
organic farming not only to increase farm productivity but also
improve soil fertility by using less fertilizer that rubs off soil
nutrients.

In terms of rice production, Bohol Province contributes 60 percent
share in Region 7, with an area of 46,109 hectares for rice out of
63,919 hectares for the entire region this wet season.

Yap, in an interview, said he chose to launch organic farming in Lila,
Bohol, who is experiencing low production rate due to poor farming
method and efficient irrigation system.

He explained that organic farming is the use of balanced fertilization
method -- organic and inorganic fertilizer -- that increases
productivity and improves soil nutrients by less usage of harmful
chemicals.

Yap said organic farming is incorporated in the FIELDS program, which
is the centerpiece program of the Arroyo administration to guarantee
food security over the medium term amid the incessant threats to
global farm productivity by climate change.

FIELDS stands for Fertilizers, Irrigation and other rural
infrastructure, Education and extension services for farmers, Loans,
Dryers and other post-harvest facilities, and Seeds.

Yap underscored the need for the country to further boost farm
productivity in the face of tightening global food supplies, brought
about by climate change and other global factors, and the urgency for
all sectors not only in Bohol but for the entire country to work
together in sustaining the growth momentum of Philippine agriculture
and fisheries.

As such, he encouraged farmers all over the country to go into organic
farming to ensure food sustainability and sufficiency, and, at the
same time, promotes conservation of environment by using
environment-friendly farming method.

Yap also called for the creation of a National Seed Program in the
country to lessen the high cost of imported seeds.

He encouraged local government units especially in farming communities
to put up their own nurseries so farmers in the area can easily avail
of seeds and fertilizer.

The DA chief also ordered the National Irrigation Administration (NIA)
to fast-track rehabilitation of existing irrigation facilities
nationwide, rather than constructing new ones which are more expensive
and would need bigger budget.

He also turned over checks for the construction of multi-purpose
drying pavements, loan assistance to cooperative banks; and
distributed rice and corn seeds, assorted vegetable seeds, and
fertilizer to farmers in Lila town.

Meanwhile, in connection with the World Food Day celebration, the
Philippines through the DA Secretary and Kazuyuki Tsurumi, the country
representative of the United Nations̢۪ Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO), signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) for the US$
471,000 support fund from the Spanish Government to assist
flood-affected farming communities in Eastern Samar and Leyte provinces.

Yap said the project, which will run from October 2008 to September
2009, will provide farmers in the affected areas agricultural inputs
such as rice and corn seeds, assorted vegetable seeds, and fruit trees
seedlings; fertilizers, poultry and livestock, fish fingerlings, among
others.

The project would also give trainings to farmers and women groups to
improve their technical knowledge and skills on sustainable crop,
animal and aquaculture production including processing; and enhance
their capabilities to adopt to other livelihood activities and other
coping strategies in times of natural calamities.

During the occasion, the people of Lila let Yap and Tsurumi
participate in their tradition during harvest season where people
would approach harvesting farmer and offer him rice cake or
"bibingka", and coconut wine or "tuba".

In turn, the farmer would give his townmates palay in "exchange" for
the goods they gave him.

As such, Yap and Tsurumi participated in the harvesting and threshing
of palay, and drank coconut wine with the farmers and ate rice cake to
the applause of the people in the area.

This year̢۪s World Food Day will have for its theme "World Food
Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Food Security."

To be able to meet these challenges, Yap said, "we must feed the
people now."

This can be done through improved farm production, irrigation system
and infrastructure; lower cost of farm inputs; loan assistance to
farmers and fisherfolk; and availability of technical assistance and
new farming technologies. All these components are in the FIELDS
program of the government. (PNA)

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